2014 NHL Draft: OHL draft review

By Jason Menard
2014 NHL Draft - Sam Bennett - Calgary Flames

Photo: The Calgary Flames made Kingston Frontenacs center Sam Bennett the top forward chosen out of the OHL when they nabbed with the fourth pick overall at the 2014 NHL Draft (courtesy of Aaron Bell/CHL Images)


The Ontario Hockey League is not shy about professing itself as the premier route to “The Show”. And with nearly 20 per cent of this year’s drafted players coming out of the OHL — including 10 first-rounders — it’s clear that the “O” is not planning to relinquish its crown.


In total, 41 OHL players were selected in the 2014 NHL Draft (26 forwards, 12 defensemen, and three goaltenders), with Aaron Ekblad earning first overall status after being chosen by the Florida Panthers. While there was some debate as to whether Ekblad or one of the Sams would be selected first, the “Exceptional Player” Ekblad’s combination of size, two-way skill, and maturity were too much for the rebuilding Panthers to resist. Ekblad projects as a rock on the blueline, likely for the next decade, in the Sunshine State.


Ekblad was the sixth OHL player to be selected first overall in the past eight NHL Drafts. Only Nathan MacKinnon last year and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in 2011 broke those streaks.


The OHL dominated the top five of this year’s draft, with the Kingston Frontenacs’ Sam Bennett and Oshawa Generals’ Michael Dal Colle selected fourth and fifth by the Calgary Flames and New York Islanders respectively. The hulking Nick Ritchie rounded out the top 10 when he was selected out of Peterborough by the Anaheim Ducks.


While the selection of Brendan Perlini of the Niagara IceDogs at 12th overall by the Arizona Coyotes wasn’t a surprise, the next selection was clearly high-risk, high-reward. Anthony DeAngelo was rated as the number-two defender by many, but character issues and suspensions relating to ‘inappropriate statements’ made to other players served to suppress his status. The Tampa Bay Lightning took a chance on the Sarnia Sting player who has said he’s learned from his mistakes, and he has the potential — even at 19 — to be the steal of this draft.


The St. Louis Blues took the small but speedy Robby Fabbri from the Memorial Cup runner-up Guelph Storm with the 21st selection, with the Vancouver Canucks following up three picks later with the selection of rugged Jared McCann out from the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.


The next two picks were clear high-risk, high-reward selections, but both with tremendous offensive upside. Nikolay Goldobin, from the Sarnia Sting, has all the offensive talent in the world but appears sometimes allergic to the defensive end. He’s a wizard with the puck, scoring and passing with aplomb, but needs to develop at least some semblance of a defensive game before he makes an impact with the San Jose Sharks. And the Islanders, with their second selection of the first round, picked up Josh Ho-Sang of the Windsor Spitfires. Again, Ho-Sang’s talent has never been called into question, but his team play has been called into question. When he uses his teammates, he can have an incredible impact on a team.


There were some family ties in the second round, with Brendan Lemieux (son of Claude) and Ryan MacInnis (son of Al) taken 31st and 43rd respectively by the Buffalo Sabres and Arizona Coyotes. Sandwiched between those OHL selections was the first Ontario-based goalie taken in the Plymouth Whalers dynamic Alex Nedeljkovic, who went 37th overall to the Carolina Hurricanes.


One of the best surprises of the draft included Christian Dvorak of the London Knights who was selected 58th overall by the Arizona Coyotes after missing the second half of the season due to an injury.


In total, 10 OHL players were selected in the first round, with nine more added in the second — bringing the OHL’s totals to 19 out of the first 60 picks. Six OHL prospects were selected in the third round, four in the fourth, eight were selected in the sixth, and four in the seventh. No OHL player was selected in the fifth round.


First round

1. Aaron Ekblad (Barrie Colts) – Florida Panthers

4. Sam Bennett (Kingston Frontenacs) – Calgary Flames

5. Michael Dal Colle (Oshawa Generals) – New York Islanders

10. Nick Ritchie (Peterborough Petes) – Anaheim Ducks

12. Brendan Perlini (Niagara IceDogs) – Arizona Coyotes

19. Anthony DeAngelo (Sarnia Sting) – Tampa Bay Lightning

21. Robby Fabbri (Guelph Storm) — St. Louis Blues

24. Jared McCann (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) – Vancouver Canucks

27. Nikolay Goldobin (Sarnia Sting) – San Jose Sharks

28. Joshua Ho-Sang (Windsor Spitfires) – New York Islanders


Second Round

31. Brendan Lemieux (Barrie Colts) – Buffalo Sabres

37. Alex Nedeljkovic (Plymouth Whalers) – Carolina Hurricanes

43. Ryan MacInnis (Kitchener Rangers) – Arizona Coyotes

44. Eric Cornel (Peterborough Petes) – Buffalo Sabres

50. Roland McKeown (Kingston Frontenacs) – Los Angeles Kings

54. Hunter Smith (Oshawa Generals) – Calgary Flames

58. Christian Dvorak (London Knights) – Arizona Coyotes

59. Brandon Halverson (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) – New York Rangers

60. Alex Lintuniemi (Ottawa 67’s) – Los Angeles Kings


Third Round

71. Connor Chatham (Plymouth Whalers) – New Jersey Devils

75. Alex Peters (Plymouth Whalers) – Dallas Stars

77. Blake Siebenaler (Niagara IceDogs) – Columbus Blue Jackets

81. Dylan Sadowy (Saginaw Spirit) – San Jose Sharks

84. Kyle Wood (North Bay Battalion) – Colorado Avalanche

90. Michael Amadio (North Bay Battalion) – Los Angeles Kings


Fourth Round

93. Nick Magyar (Kitchener Rangers) – Colorado Avalanche

96. Josh Wesley (Plymouth Whalers) – Carolina Hurricanes

115. Brent Moran (Niagara IceDogs) – Dallas Stars

117. Michael Bunting (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) – Arizona Coyotes


Sixth Round

154. Aaron Haydon (Niagara IceDogs) – Dallas Stars

156. Kyle Pettit (Erie Otters) – Vancouver Canucks

157. Jake Marchment (Belleville Bulls) – Los Angeles Kings

170. Cristiano DiGiacinto (Windsor Spitfires) – Tampa Bay Lightning

171. Kevin Labanc (Barrie Colts) – San Jose Sharks

172. Chandler Yakimowicz (London Knights) – St. Louis Blues

173. Jaden Lindo (Owen Sound Attack) – Pittsburgh Penguins

180. Matthew Mistele (Plymouth Whalers) – Los Angeles Kings


Seventh Round

187. Kyle Jenkins (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) – Carolina Hurricanes

195. Patrick Sanvido (Windsor Spitfires) – Dallas Stars

209. Spencer Watson (Kingston Frontenacs) – Los Angeles Kings

210. Jacob Middleton (Ottawa 67’s) – Los Angeles Kings


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